World Travel Guides UNESCO World Heritage Site  Terrace of the Elephants

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Terrace of the Elephants is an ancient royal platform that extends over 300 metres from the Baphuon to the Terrace of the Leper King. From the main road that run along the north-south axis through Angkor Thom, you can see the Terrace of the Elephants on the left after you pass the Bayon and Baphuon. It is two and a half meters high, and adorned with its namesake reliefs of elephants on one side and garudas (bird-men) on the other. At one end of it is the Terrace of the Leper King, to my opinion much less impressive than the Terrace of the Elephants.

The Terrace of the Elephants consists of three main platforms and two smaller ones. At the south stairway, there are three-headed elephant sculptures with lotus flowers in their trunks. The central stairway is decorated with reliefs of lions and garudas supporting the stairway.

Close-up of the Terrace of the Elephants

The best way to explore the Terrace of the Elephants in on foot. If you came by tuk tuk, ask your tuk tuk driver to wait for you at the food stalls - there's a place where lots of tuk tuks are congregated, in front of the Baphuon. Then explore this section of Angkor Thom north of the Bayon on foot.

The Terrace of the Elephants is believed to be a pavillion for the king to view military parades. This is because it overlooks the large square in front which is where parades could be held. I visited one hot February afternoon, and the heat here was simply of sheer intensity. I stayed just long enough to get all the photographs I needed before I hurried off to the next building.

Construction Details

Built at the end of the 12th Century
by King Jayavarman II (reigned 1181-1220)

How to reach the Terrace of the Elephants

The Terrace of the Elephants is one of the sights within Angkor Thom, just north of the Bayon temple. All tuk tuk drivers to Angkor should know how to get there - if you find one who doesn't, well, change tuk tuk! If you're on your own, by bicycle or motorcycle, park somewhere under the shade near the food stalls, and do your on foot.

Garuda sculptures on the Terrace of the Elephants.

View of Terrace of the Elephants.

Elephants sculptures on the terrace.

Wide expanse of the Terrace of the Elephants.

Many layer Terrace of the Elephants.

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